The idea of switching over to renewable energy really came together for me during the oil embargoes of the 1970s, while I was in college and working at General Motors. I could not get gas for my car and we could not get enough oil for lubricants, cutting fluids and hydraulics at work. These events put me on a 40-year career path working in clean energy, starting with studying solar energy at the University of Florida and Oakland University, to working as an energy engineer, and I’ve been practicing and implementing what I learned ever since. Read More
Dr. John Patten
Professor and Chair, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, and Director, Manufacturing Research Center, Western Michigan University
April 30th, 2014
April 25th, 2014
In a secret negotiation result reported by Hannah Northey, E&E News, the nuclear industry passed along another risk to the U.S. public. An expected $300 million loan fee for building the new Vogtle nuclear plant, was negotiated down to zero by the plant owners. This was one of two nuclear power issues that came out of the shadows of secrecy and unaccounted costs this week. Read More
April 24th, 2014
The proposal to dismantle Ohio’s clean energy standards remains on the table as the Ohio legislature takes a recess until May. The rationale behind this proposal, however, doesn’t hold water and Ohio legislators should reject it when they return to Columbus. Read More
Power Outages, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change: How Smart Energy Choices Will Help Keep the Lights On
April 21st, 2014
Our nation’s aging electricity system is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events — including flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires — which often cause power outages. Today UCS released a new report called Power Failure, which describes how extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future as global temperatures continue to rise, with major consequences for the electricity sector. Read More
April 16th, 2014
Yesterday we talked about 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day with your family, save money, and cut your carbon emissions. Here’s a deeper dive into two of them: how to find and get rid of phantom loads or energy vampires, in ways that engage the kids.
You can pitch your Earth Day adventure to the kids as an updated version of the classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (easy-listening video version here). Fun for the whole family. But without the mud, the river, or the long swishy-swashy grass.
April 1st, 2014
On Friday, the Obama Administration released a multi-sector strategy to cut methane emissions from agriculture, landfills, coal mines, and oil and gas production. This is an important step to reduce the climate risks of natural gas — as long as we get the details right — and to create a more level playing field for cleaner, less risky options like renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More
Proposed Freeze of Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards is Misguided, Not in the Best Interest of Consumers
March 27th, 2014
The defeat last year of Sen. Seitz’s efforts to undermine Ohio’s clean energy laws was a hard won fight and was good news for Ohio. And with the recent approval of Ohio’s newest wind farm, a new report showing how energy efficiency is our cheapest electricity resource, and the Kansas legislature smartly refusing to roll back their renewable energy standard, you would hope that opponents of clean energy would finally get the message that the public knows that investing in energy efficiency, wind, solar and other clean energy resources is good for Ohio.
But the Ohio legislature is once again considering legislation that would roll back the state’s successful renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Read More
February 19th, 2014
The latest good news about clean energy in Ohio is that the state ranks #8 in the nation for solar jobs. But despite this, 2014 has not ushered in a new era of civility or honest debate about the merits of Ohio’s clean energy standards that require a percentage of Ohio’s electricity demand be met with renewable energy and energy efficiency. Instead, Bill Seitz, chair of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee, started off the 2014 legislative session right where he left of last year: with misguided efforts to roll back Ohio’s successful clean energy policies. Read More
February 3rd, 2014
In last week’s State of the Union (SOTU) address, President Obama reiterated his support for climate science by unequivocally stating “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” He also should be commended for highlighting the urgency of the problem as local communities are already experiencing damaging and costly climate impacts like drought, wildfires, heat waves, and coastal flooding.
But the President’s enthusiasm for increasing natural gas production and use as an important climate solution missed the mark. And like his climate action plan speech at Georgetown University last June, the President highlighted the economic benefits of increasing U.S. natural gas production, while failing to mention the economic risks of an overreliance on natural gas. Read More
December 18th, 2013
Clean energy supporters in Ohio marked an important victory this month when Senate Bill 58 (SB58) — which would have gutted Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and handed utilities potentially billions of dollars in undeserved profits — failed to come up for a vote in the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee. But clean energy opponents in Ohio are already planning their next rounds of misguided attacks. Read More